HALIFAX, N.S. – A Halifax police officer has told a fatality inquiry she can’t understand why a doctor released a mentally ill man from hospital with instructions that he should be returned to the facility if he was not given a psychiatric assessment after a court appearance.
Const. Kathryn Willet testified that she was confused by the doctor’s order because it was clear to her that if Howard Hyde was released from court, police would have no probable grounds to detain him and take him back to hospital.
Hyde, under arrest for an alleged assault, was first taken to hospital after he was Tasered twice and stopped breathing as he tried to escape from the Halifax police station on Nov. 21, 2007.
Willet also testified that when she relayed the doctor’s instructions to sheriffs at the court in Dartmouth, she was told Sheriff Services also lacked the jurisdiction to take Hyde back to the hospital.
In the end, Hyde did not receive a psychiatric assessment and he was not returned to the hospital, as Dr. Janet MacIntyre had ordered.
Instead, Hyde was taken to the Dartmouth jail, where he died the following morning after a struggle with guards.